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Chapter 41
November 5, 2017

A Handmaid's Tale Told By an Idiot [ARNS]

by FREDERICA VON McTOAST-HYPHEN, Alternate Reality News Service People Writer

Bettina-Louise Crokinolemisses was born to chaperone. She wears the uniform of the life-long chaperone: demure daisy print dress, granny glasses that make her look like an owl that stuck its face in bowl of Gatorade powder and hair in a bun so severe that people for miles around feel vaguely guilty even though they have no idea why. On her left shoulder is a tattoo of rose thorns emblazoned with the words, "Oh no you don't!" And, cats. Many, many cats.

Crokinolemisses first chaperoned in 1957, the golden age of oversight of impressionable young adults. She was 12, her sister was 10; Amy Kentuckidearbi would never have another sleepover for as long as she lived (which was very annoying to her six husbands and four children). Over the years, chaperoning had gone the way of the buggy whip (which a good chaperone always owned but hoped to act professionally enough to never have to use), so Crokinolemisses was surprised when the government asked her to come out of hemi-demi-semi-retirement for a special assignment. (Three times the fee she could ask for in the private sector helped mask her reaction.)

"Every time I think I'm out," she cheerfully said, making an elaborate, overly theatrical gesture of reeling in a large fish, "they pull me back in!"

The Department of Health and Human Disservices (HHD) has so many departmentlets that even high school civics teachers throw up their hands in despair trying to name them all. Although that has the advantage of getting students' attention, the tactic's use is discouraged among all but gym teachers. The one that concerns us - okay, actually, given the McDruhitmumpf administrations habit of appointing people who are opposed to the mandate of the department they are supposed to run, they should all concern us. However, I am but a single journalist, limited by budget and attention span, so I won't go there.

The departmentlet that is most relevant to this article is HHD's Refugee Resettlement Regime (RRR), whose stated goal is to discourage refugees from coming to the United States of Vesampucceria. It does this by making the resettlement process as painful as possible, or, at least, it did until the VCLU filed lawsuits...so...many...lawsuits; now, the RRR Web site's mission statement is a GIFFY of puppies playing in a field of marigolds.

The current head of RRR is Scott Unalloydhorreur. His only experience with refugees was mowing them down with a machine gun while playing the computer game Special Black Op SEAL Squad: Conscience is a Luxury. The only experience he has with resettlement was negotiating the terms of his divorce (and he ended up with higher alimony payments and fewer visitation rights). Given this, why was he chosen to be Director of the RRR?

Unalloydhorreur hates abortion. Hates it. Hates it. Hates it. Hates it with every fibre of his being. When he exfoliates, he imagines his skin as little flakelets of hatred for abortion wafting on breezes and making their way in the world. He radiates hatred for abortion the way a uranium atom radiates...radiation, only the half-life of his hatred is at least 500,037 years.

He doesn't like abortion, okay?

Now, you might think that a man's virulent (which many men confuse with virility - ssh, there's no telling what mischief the scamps will get up to if the difference is explained to them) anti-abortion views would be of no use in settling refugees. Silly goose, you! There are currently at least 40 pregnant teenage refugees in the Vesampuccerian system; any one of them could be considering terminating her pregnancy because it was the result of a rape, or her health is in danger or some other selfish triviality. You can show them bloody fetus videos all you want (Unalloydhorreur would be happy to lend you some from his private collection if you thought it would help), but when the skin hits the stirrup, can you be sure the client won't be talked into having the A word by a life-hating doctor?

That's where Crokinolemisses comes in. The doctor's office. With a pregnant teenage refugee. To ensure that undiscussable things are not discussed.

"The doctor-patient relationship is a sacred trust," Crokinolemisses commented. "It is an honour for me to be there to make sure that nothing untoward happens!"

Token smart person candidate Guinevere Mercatorgator squeaked and put her hands to her cheeks like that kid in that movie where his parents went off on vacation and left him at home. You know, alone? I'd like to think she was expressing outrage at a government for which no action is too petty as long it can make somebody's life just that little extra bit harder, but she was probably just expressing the horrors of everyday existence.

Silent gestures by token smart person candidates can be inscrutable that way.

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